The first week of my second semester in South Korea is officially complete! This semester is shaping up to be very different from my first semester at Yonsei University. In my first semester I took all study abroad courses which are only open to foreign exchange students. Through these courses I got to meet a lot of international students and learn about South Korea’s history, culture, business environment, and language. Learning about South Korea’s history and culture was one of my goals coming to Seoul and I am glad that I had the opportunity to take these classes. However, while I had a great time in all my classes making friends from all over the United States, Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands, I felt that I missed out on an essential part of the study abroad experience which is making local friends. So, I challenged myself in the second semester to sign up for some standard Yonsei courses open to both exchange students and degree seeking students.
In my second semester I decided to sign up for one or two regular courses. When registration started, I registered for two business courses which would help me to finish my degree at my home university and allow me to meet Korean students. However, between the second and third (and final) registration periods I received an email saying one of my professors had retired and two of my courses had been canceled! On top of that I didn’t get off the waiting list for one of the two business courses I had attempted to join. This sent me into a stressed-out frenzy trying to find courses that still had room. I expanded my search for any course offered in English and open to exchange students.
Fortunately, my study abroad program reached out and said I could replace one course with an approved internship. So, I applied for an internship at the Seoul office of an international airline. I have an interview for that next week! In other good news, I was able to find three more courses. My final schedule includes three regular Yonsei courses, two business courses and one education course, and two study abroad courses. My study abroad courses cover international politics from a Korean perspective and digital media (while this course doesn’t sound like it is about Korea, it primarily focuses on Korean companies and issues Korea is dealing with such as the desire to become a smart city). I am hoping my new schedule will allow me to continue to learn more about South Korea, help me complete my degree, and allow me to meet full-time Yonsei students.